Many people posit that everything in the Universe is connected, and I think that this is a principle of quantum physics — “think” meaning I read it on Google once. Someone much more connected to quantum physics than I will have to clarify. I am just considering how many theorists believe everything in nature is connected to everything else.
This theory is often overlooked in the world of academia, for many reasons. Scholars can be somewhat territorial of their work and their fields, and therefore often do not want to consider the other disciplines they might have cursorily used to do research. However, this is becoming a thing of the past, with the growing field of interdisciplinary studies (not that I am biased or anything).
Once known as a “liberal arts” degree, interdisciplinary studies has grown tremendously in recent years. No longer is this degree only good for saying, “Would you like fries with that?” (Back in the Stone Age, when I first began my college career, my adviser actually told me that was all I would be able to do with my degree. Awe-inspiring pep talk indeed.)
The majority of secondary and post-secondary schools now have interdisciplinary offerings, and even teaching hospitals, such as the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, have an interdisciplinary department.
Think about it–research does not live in a vacuum. Psychological studies often share components of sociological studies; historical studies often share literary studies; anthropology and psychology are often linked; and of course, truthfully, any scholar writing about his or her research is using rhetoric to persuade their audience.
There have been many instances while studying for my Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies where I could see connections, in seemingly separate areas. For my BAIS, my areas of emphasis were health sciences, psychology, and history. Obviously, there were connections between health sciences and psychology, but sometimes facts would pop up in my history classes that related to something in one of the other fields.
If you like thinking outside the box, the interdisciplinary studies program might just be the program for you. Many employers are now looking for critical thinkers who can work with other specialists or departments, to “work smarter, not harder.” Because just remember, everything is connected–it has to be. Stephen King says so.
Written by Suzanne Homesly